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Author Topic:   Daniel 9, Jesus and exact dates
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Joined: 01-10-2003
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Message 1 of 1 (805365)
04-18-2017 7:09 AM

My purpose is to show that the prophecy of the seventy weeks in Daniel 9 verses 24-27 does not give exact dates, nor is it about Jesus. This first post primarily deals with the issue of exact dates.

Firstly, the text of the prophecy as translated by the NRSV

24 “Seventy weeks are decreed for your people and your holy city: to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. 25 Know therefore and understand: from the time that the word went out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the time of an anointed prince, there shall be seven weeks; and for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with streets and moat, but in a troubled time. 26 After the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing, and the troops of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. 27 He shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall make sacrifice and offering cease; and in their place shall be an abomination that desolates, until the decreed end is poured out upon the desolator.”

As can easily be seen the start date is vague "the time that the word went out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem". The usual Christian interpretation is that this refers to an event described in Nehemiah 2, dated to 445-4 BC, where the Persian ruler Artaxerxes gave Nehemiah permission to rebuild. However, the Biblical account offers considerable complications starting with the fact that the Jews had started to return and begun to rebuild the Temple in the reign of Cyrus, around 90 years earlier.

Christians typically regard Jesus as the anointed one who was "cut off", thinking that it refers to his death. However from 445 BC a period of 483 years gets us to 39 AD (there is no 'year 0'). That is too late for Jesus' death as Pontius Pilate left office in Jerusalem in 36 AD.

Far worse are the following events. The city is to be stormed, and the conqueror is to end the Temple offerings for 3 1/2 years, setting up a pagan altar there. While the Romans did storm Jerusalem it was not until 70 AD - much more than 7 years after Jesus' death. Even then it is a poor fit since sacrifices were ended immediately and have still not been restored to this day, and pagan worship was not established in the ruined temple.

So, to sum up:

The start date is highly uncertain

The usual Christian choice of start date does not give the correct year for Jesus' death

The events following the "anointed one" being "cut off" did not occur within the seven years after Jesus' death - and the events of decades later only partially match.

Christians may - and sometimes - do introduce extra, ad hoc, complications to try and make the figures fit. But in doing so they only add uncertainty and further undermine the claim to have exact date, while giving little reason to think that their preferred interpretation is correct.

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